Adapted from a story told by Luis Palau.
“‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.'” (Matthew 4:19)
There was a group called “Fishermen’s Fellowship”. They were surrounded by streams and lakes full of hungry fish. They met regularly to discuss the call to fish, the abundance of fish and the thrill of catching fish. They got excited about fishing.
Someone suggested they needed a philosophy of fishing. So they carefully defined and redefined fishing and the purpose of fishing. They developed fishing strategies and tactics.
Then they realized they had been going at it backward. They had approached fishing from the point of the fisherman and not from the point of view of the fish. How do fish view the world? How does the fisherman appear to the fish? What do fish eat and when? These are all good things to know.
So they began research studies and attended conferences on fishing. Some traveled far away to study different kinds of fish with different habits. Some got Ph.D.’s in Fishology. But none had yet gone fishing.
So a committee was formed to send out fishermen. As prospective fishing places outnumbered the fishermen, the committee needed to determine priorities. A priority list of fishing places was posted on bulletin boards in all the Fellowship halls.
Still, no one was fishing. A survey was launched to find out why. Most did not answer the questionnaire but from those who did respond, it was discovered that some felt called to study fish, a few to furnish fishing equipment and several to go around encouraging fishermen.
What with meetings, conferences, and seminars, others simply didn’t have time to fish.
Jake was a newcomer to the “Fishermen’s Fellowship”. After one stirring meeting of the “Fellowship,” Jake went fishing. He tried a few things, got the hang of it and caught a choice fish. At the next meeting, he told his story, was honored for his catch and was then scheduled to speak at all the “Fellowship” chapters to tell how he did it.
Soon he began to feel restless and empty. He longed to feel the tug on the line once again. He cut the speaking, resigned from the Board and said to a friend, “Let’s go fishing.” They did just the two of them and they caught fish.
The members of the “Fishermen’s Fellowship” were many, the fish were plentiful, but the fishers were few.
QUESTION: When was the last time you and I did some serious fishing for men? What are we waiting for? After all, Jesus did say, “‘Come, follow me… and I will make you fishers of men.'”